Magnetic Data Storage Technology: From the Invention of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording to Social Integration


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The digital world is producing nearly a hundred zetta-bytes of data per year and creating value for the quality of society. A huge amount of data is being stored, processed, transmitted, and then shared via large-scale networked data centers, which consist of millions of data storage systems filled with perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) hard disk drives. PMR technology was invented by Shunichi Iwasaki in 1975, and the first commercial product was launched in 2005. Since then, data storage has become the ever-growing foundation of the digital world and has led to data-driven innovations such as big-data artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, Internet of Things, medical science, and even black-hole visualization in astronomy.

This lecture will discuss the essential magnetics needed to understand innovative PMR data storage technology and the origin of the high-density recording performance that has led current recording density growth. Storage performance stands on a stacked system foundation and the building blocks are, from its base, the physics of magnetics, three-dimensional material controls at the subnanometer scale, magnetic and electronic device design, storage device integration, and storage system architectures, together with nonvolatile memory to unleash the system’s intrinsic performance. The development of new storage devices and systems requires a multiscale approach and the correct guiding principles to establish expected functions. As an extension of PMR research, the lecture will show the prospects for future storage technology and system architecture from the multiscale view of storage system development. New computational storage aiming at unifying computation power in data storage and brain-inspired systems, as well as the academic-industry relations to realize those systems, will also be introduced.